Students upset over closure

PARENTS are reeling after the announcement that St Mary’s School in Tamworth would close this year.

NOT HAPPY: Francine Thompson’s children Lucy-Kate and William will farewell their beloved St Mary’s School at the end of the year. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 260614GOB01

NOT HAPPY: Francine Thompson’s children Lucy-Kate and William will farewell their beloved St Mary’s School at the end of the year. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 260614GOB01

Francine and Malcolm Thompson have sent both their children, Lucy-Kate and William, to St Mary’s from kindergarten and this week they were told they would be unable to continue their schooling at the small Catholic school.

“We’re very upset about it,” Mrs Thompson said.

“Especially the children, they’re very upset that they can’t finish their primary schooling at St Mary’s. Lucy-Kate was devastated when she found out and William asked why they couldn’t just let them stay there and finish school.”

Lucy-Kate is in Year 5 and suffers allergies that mean the students at St Mary’s wash their hands after they eat, allowing her to play on playground equipment.

Her parents fear this will not be able to happen at a larger school.

Mr and Mrs Thompson said they had met with teachers at St Joseph’s, West Tamworth, and would send their children there, if accepted, rather than St Nicholas’, where all St Mary’s students would be accepted.

St Mary’s campus runs under the banner of St Nicholas’ and all St Mary’s students will be offered places at St Nicholas’ for the 2015 school year.

Mrs Thompson said there were many factors that made them choose St Joseph’s over St Nicholas’.

“The disappointment of St Mary’s closing, the way that we found out that St Mary’s was closing, the impersonal letter that we got are all factors,” she said.

“It’s also a smaller school, which is better for Lucy-Kate because she can still be a primary school child.”

Lucy-Kate will be in Year 6 next year and William will be in Year 4.

Mrs Thompson said St Joseph’s said they could cater for her daughter’s allergies, but she had to get documentation and other items from their doctors at Westmead.

“It’s not going to be as good as at St Mary’s where it’s such a small, family environment – they’re going to a bigger environment,” she said.

Mrs Thompson said the feelings about the closure were the same among most parents.

“Everyone is like us, nobody is happy. There’s even a mum whose daughter is in Year 6 who is very upset. One of Lucy-Kate’s peers is also looking into St Joseph’s and one of William’s friends’ parents doesn’t know where she will be sending her child,” she said.

Mrs Thompson said they chose the Catholic system over the public system because of “the beliefs and the education and the better upbringing” it offered.

“They have better values and those sorts of things,” she said.

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